The Malaysians led 15-11 in the third game but it went down the wire, with the Indians clinching the title on their third match point, 16-21 21-17 21-19 to become the first title winners from their country since men’s singles champion Dinesh Khanna in 1965.
“Today we didn’t play, the crowd played with us,” said Rankireddy. “It was a bad start in the first and half of second game, but we didn’t give up. We kept our nerve; we know how to play these situations. So, we were waiting for good rhythm and then to take our chances. We were calmer in the second and third games.”
There was a massive upset in mixed doubles, with young Chinese pair Jiang Zhen Bang/Wei Ya Xin getting the better of senior compatriots and world champions Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong in straight games.
Jiang/Wei had made their HSBC BWF World Tour debut only earlier this year, reaching the final of the Indonesia Masters in January, and have since then risen to become China’s fifth-highest pair.
Playing the biggest final of their young career, Jiang/Wei showed no sign of being intimidated by their accomplished rivals, whose last loss in a final was at the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021.
“Definitely it is a significant win at this prestigious meet. This will motivate us to win many more tournaments in the future. We were facing Zheng and Huang for the first time, but we play them quite often during training,” said Jiang.
Women’s singles saw Tai Tzu Ying win her biggest title since the Indonesia Open in June 2022. Tai was totally dominant over An Se Young, who looked stiff and unable to move with her usual fluency, 21-10 21-14.
“I haven’t played the Asian Championships for some time now. And I wasn’t planning initially to play, but when I learnt it was happening in Dubai, I planned to come. I have good memories in Dubai. And I am happy to continue it. It was a good overall event; I played up to my expectations,” said Tai.